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Topic: Q for JB about Kirby & 70’s Marvel (Topic Closed Topic Closed) Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Brad Danson
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Posted: 08 April 2013 at 1:53pm | IP Logged | 1  

Surfing around today I found these:




Did Kirby often do the layouts for other artists of the time?  It is a magnificent blend of the two: Kirby dynamics with Romita's mainstream appeal.  Looking at this really made me think that this is the way Marvel should have been using Kirby at the time.  (However, had I seen the finished drawing first, I would have NO IDEA that Kirby was any part of it.)
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John Byrne
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Posted: 08 April 2013 at 2:29pm | IP Logged | 2  

That's not Kirby doing layouts. That's Kirby doing full pencils, and Romita redrawing when he inked the piece. He did that a lot.

In fact, it sort of became his JOB at Marvel -- to keep the characters "on model" when drawn by different artists. Lots of "John Romita Faces" floating around various books from this period (including one of mine!). Starlin even parodied this in WARLOCK.

Truth to tell, I have not really been able to decide how I feel about the whole idea. I've been called upon myself, from time to time, to nudge a character into something more "on model" when inking someone else's work. And I DO think the character's should be "on model" whenever possible. But when I look at something like the images above, and see how Kirby has almost completely disappeared. . .

Mind you, a lot of Kirby was obliterated by Joe Sinnott's inks on those classic FF issues, and they probably would have been LESS classic if left entirely as is, so who's to say what's right and what's not?

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Brad Danson
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Posted: 08 April 2013 at 3:00pm | IP Logged | 3  

I hated Kirby's work as I was growing up in the early 80's.  I didn't read fan magazines to get to that opinion though I have no idea how much influence Marvel's marketing at the time may have made me think that Romita's designs were the "right" ones.  Still, I can't imagine anyone looking at Kirby's Spider-Man and thinking it only needed to be traced with inks.  My first reaction on looking at Spider-Man in the drawing was, "Oh, he wasn't finished yet."  Looking at the rest of the figures in the drawing I realize, "Oh shit...YES he was!"  As an adult, I'd just want someone to show Kirby how to "correct" the Spider-Man portion of the drawing.  The child in me would prefer it just be slathered in Sinnott or Romita inks.
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Brian Tait
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Posted: 08 April 2013 at 3:31pm | IP Logged | 4  

I love Kirbys stuff, but for whatever reason, he just couldn't get Spider-Man "right".

I seem to recall an interview with him where he said he didn't like drawing Spider-Man. Didn't like all the webbing or something. I think he said he could never remember just how the web design was supposed to look, especially on the mask.

Does this sound right, or am I mis-remembering.
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Robert Bradley
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Posted: 08 April 2013 at 3:49pm | IP Logged | 5  

I'm a huge Romita fan so it doesn't bother me, but I could see how a Kirby fan could be have their feathers ruffled by this.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 08 April 2013 at 3:51pm | IP Logged | 6  

I seem to recall an interview with him where he said he didn't like drawing Spider-Man. Didn't like all the webbing or something. I think he said he could never remember just how the web design was supposed to look, especially on the mask.

Must predate when he started claiming to have created Spider-Man! Which, of course, Kirby fans would support by pointing out that the costume is "pure Kirby".

Uh huh.

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Robert Bradley
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Posted: 08 April 2013 at 3:57pm | IP Logged | 7  

Here's the famous Captain Marvel illustration by Starlin which Romita made more "on model."

Again, if I were Starlin I probably would have been pissed, but personally, I think it was a good choice to "adjust" it.

Now the difference here is that the calendar illustration by Kirby was for Marvel merchandising, the Starlin illustration is for the mothly comic he was writing and drawing.

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Vinny Valenti
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Posted: 08 April 2013 at 4:50pm | IP Logged | 8  

'I love Kirbys stuff, but for whatever reason, he just couldn't get Spider-Man "right".'

That said, that's one of the best Spider-Mans I've ever seen him do!
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Brad Brickley
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Posted: 08 April 2013 at 5:56pm | IP Logged | 9  

'I love Kirbys stuff, but for whatever reason, he just couldn't get Spider-Man "right".'

***

It's funny how some artists are so great on most things, but certain characters just don't gel.  
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Wallace Sellars
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Posted: 08 April 2013 at 6:28pm | IP Logged | 10  

I really dig that calendar artwork! Of course since I consider John Romita, Sr.
among the greatest comic book artists...
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Brad Hague
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Posted: 08 April 2013 at 6:46pm | IP Logged | 11  

I prefer the Kirby pencils now as an adult.  As a child, I would have preferred the Romita-inked finished version.

Holy crap are those pencils from Starlin cool.  I really like the pencils over the finished (fixed) version.  I don't blame him for being peeved or whatever he was.

On the other hand, I wouldn't mind if John Byrne were hired to put the Marvel Universe back "on model" this decade.  That would make the characters much more recognizable.  Especially the X-Men.

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Andrew W. Farago
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Posted: 08 April 2013 at 6:55pm | IP Logged | 12  

It's funny how some artists are so great on most things, but certain characters just don't gel.

Of course, if Kirby wanted to limit himself "only" to characters he created, that still gave him hundreds of fun options that didn't involve anyone else's designs.  Think how many characters we'd have missed out on if he'd spent much effort on figuring out how to do a Ditko-esque Spider-Man?

Interestingly enough, there are plenty of fun takes on Kirby's characters by Ditko.  Ditko's Hulk and Machine Man are terrific, for starters.
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Paul Greer
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Posted: 08 April 2013 at 7:19pm | IP Logged | 13  

I think that Kirby Spidey is one of the best I have seen him do. Outside of Conan I think the characters are easily recognizable. Overall, I do like the Romita version better. When it came to action poses and comicbook storytelling I feel Kirby was King. When it came to iconic poses and promotional images I believe no one was better than Romita. His stuff was prettier to look at. Which, I think, works better when you are trying to sell lunch boxes and posters. It also made sense when he "corrected" covers. It gave the Marvel line a more uniformed look consistant with their merchandise in the 70's.

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Andrew W. Farago
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Posted: 08 April 2013 at 7:24pm | IP Logged | 14  

And getting back to the initial post:  Looking at this really made me think that this is the way Marvel should have been using Kirby at the time.

John Romita was the perfect guy for that job, and I'm glad Kirby still got to create great stuff like Captain America, Black Panther, 2001, The Eternals, and Devil Dinosaur.  Putting him on layouts for other people at that stage in his career sounds too much like a demotion to me.
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Paul Greer
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Posted: 08 April 2013 at 7:35pm | IP Logged | 15  

Had Kirby became art director instead of Romita maybe I would have a different opinion on just using him for promotional materials later in his career. Before Kirby went to DC he was the poster boy for the Marvel house style. However, when he left Romita quickly filled the void and made the look of Marvel more commercial and mass market friendly.

It is similiar when Romita took over Spider-Man. I think Ditko's run is near perfect, but it is hard to argue that Romita's style made the book more popular than before. His work is so damn good looking.

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Robert Bradley
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Posted: 08 April 2013 at 7:49pm | IP Logged | 16  

In the mid-60s I could see Kirby doing this as breakdowns for someone else to finish, but this looks more like pencils which Romita "corrected" when he did the inking.

This isn't really that unusual.  You can see a dramatic difference between Kirby's work with Sinnott in the late 60s and his work soon after when he left for DC.



Edited by Robert Bradley on 08 April 2013 at 7:54pm
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Andrew W. Farago
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Posted: 08 April 2013 at 10:18pm | IP Logged | 17  

It's amazing that Kirby was doing layouts for other artists--like Romita--in the 1960s in addition to his regular workload.  The guy was unstoppable then.
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Stephen Robinson
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Posted: 09 April 2013 at 12:33am | IP Logged | 18  

I think what I enjoy most about JB's work is that he "gets" Kirby's style *and* Neal Adams's style. His FF and HIDDEN YEARS are just two obvious examples. I can't think of any other artist who can draw Kirby or Adams-designed characters as well. Oh, and he can "channel" Ditko, as well!
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David Plunkert
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Posted: 09 April 2013 at 7:20am | IP Logged | 19  

I'm not entirely sure if Kirby should have been insulted when his work was redrawn by others but he should at least have been paid for his efforts.

I don't know if that was the case with 77 calendar art but apparently he drew and inked this Hulk poster in the early 70's and someone at Marvel ordered it redrawn by Trimpe and Kirby was not paid for his work.


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John Byrne
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Posted: 09 April 2013 at 8:30am | IP Logged | 20  

I don't know if that was the case with 77 calendar art but apparently he drew and inked this Hulk poster in the early 70's and someone at Marvel ordered it redrawn by Trimpe and Kirby was not paid for his work.

Source?

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Brad Danson
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Posted: 09 April 2013 at 8:50am | IP Logged | 21  

That Hulk poster loses A LOT in transition.  The pose doesn't really work well for Trimpe's style.  And it IS a slap in the face if Kirby didn't get paid for it at all.  I don't see how in the world they couldn't have paid him for layouts though.


 QUOTE:
Putting him on layouts for other people at that stage in his career sounds too much like a demotion to me.


Promote him to co-art director with Romita.  Kirby would be responsible for the beginning stages of art and Romita would be responsible for the finishing stages of art.  (Which probably would have given Romita some more free time to do actual comic art in this period...which would have been a very good thing.)
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Ed Fahey
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Posted: 09 April 2013 at 9:18am | IP Logged | 22  

Man I like the look of that Kirby Hulk piece. I wish he had been cut loose in the 70's on that title and we could have seen what would have happened. I'm guessing he would have used a very sci-fi flavor as in the original issues.
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David Plunkert
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Posted: 09 April 2013 at 9:29am | IP Logged | 23  

I don't know if that was the case with 77 calendar art but apparently he drew and inked this Hulk poster in the early 70's and someone at Marvel ordered it redrawn by Trimpe and Kirby was not paid for his work.

Source?

iii

"Kirby, King of Comics" by Evanier, page 159. There's no reference to the source of the story that I can find. Since its related as one of the "last straws"  before Kirby left Marvel I assume its an anecdote from Kirby.

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Brad Danson
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Posted: 09 April 2013 at 10:08am | IP Logged | 24  


 QUOTE:
I'm guessing he would have used a very sci-fi flavor as in the original issues


Yeah, I'd say so too:  What PLANET is the Hulk suppose to be on in that poster? :)
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Pascal LISE
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Posted: 09 April 2013 at 11:54am | IP Logged | 25  

David said:
""Kirby, King of Comics" by Evanier, page 159. There's no reference to the source of the story that I can find. Since its related as one of the "last straws"  before Kirby left Marvel I assume its an anecdote from Kirby."

---

I read this in the same book along a few other indignities done to the King.

Shameful thieves!
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